Parish Council News – January 2018

The Parish Council wishes residents a Happy New Year!

Civil Parking enforcement

Many residents will already be aware of East Sussex County Council’s business case to introduce Civil Parking Enforcement in Wealden. Their proposal includes the introduction of three pay and display parking meters in Mayfield High Street and a charge of 20p for 15 minutes of parking to £1.60 for two hours – this being the supposed maximum length of stay permitted during the day. They have estimated that this will bring in an income of £44,749 in Mayfield alone that would go towards engaging six wardens to enforce parking across Wealden and back office administration etc. This information was not provided to Town or Parish Councils before it was issued with the District Council’s cabinet meeting documentation for their 13 December 2017 meeting and is not a public consultation.

The recommendation from the Leader of Wealden District Council was that Cabinet Agree to:

  • the process for East Sussex County Council to introduce and implement Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) be commenced in Wealden
  • Ask ESCC to consult Town and Parish Councils to see if they would fund the loss of income if pay and display was not introduced as part of CPE and that if this is rejected by Town and Parish Councils, for WDC to work with ESCC to introduce CPE including pay and display, permits and enforcement.

This Cabinet agenda item was withdrawn in order for Members to consider more fully the wide range of information about the different options proposed, to make sure all Wealden District Councillors were fully aware of the options regarding implementation and to understand what the effect would be across the district. It was deferred until their next Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday 31st January. If the County Council does apply to the Department of Transport for Civil Parking Enforcement it is likely to take a couple of years to introduce.


There have been mixed reactions received from residents – some obviously feel that this will massively affect footfall in the High Street for already struggling retailers. Others believe that it will address the issue of residents and retailers parking all day and preventing shoppers from parking in the High Street. At the December meeting opinions were raised that pay and display should only be introduced in the five largest towns and not in villages and there was concern that Mayfield would be used as a cash cow simply because it happens to have some parking restrictions.


Local Plan

For those residents who are interested in the progression of Wealden District Council’s Local Plan, their planning policy officers have advised that reports have been published on their website – you can look through their Habitats Regulations Assessment Section which includes information on nitrogen deposition in Ashdown Forest and air quality reports for the Pevensey Levels and the Lewes Downs. Their aim is still to publish the next draft of the plan in March 2018 and they are currently waiting on advice from Natural England on what they suggest the housing numbers for Wealden should be. Their sustainability report is still being written and is currently in excess of 2000 pages long!


Street Scene

Wealden District Council’s Street Scene Team attended the Wealden Clerks meeting in December to let us know about the services they provide:

  • Fly tipping – when a report comes in they attend the location as soon as possible to find any evidence of who is responsible and they will follow this up. Fly tipping in Wealden has reduced significantly over the last two years and they believe it is because of the successful prosecutions. They ask residents to report any incidents as soon as possible but not to touch anything. Although they will not clear fly tipping from privately owned land they would like to be informed of any incidents so they can investgate and hopefully prosecute. They have improved the reporting system online with a map to pin point the location and it is now possible to upload a photograph. If you do a search for fly tipping on the Wealden District Council website you can follow the instructions on how to report any incidents.
  • Dog fouling – they can issue fixed penalty notices and they can put up signs in problem areas. One method they use that seems to reduce dog fouling in specific areas is to highlight the mess with temporary spray paint. As a general rule a dog owner has to be caught not cleaning up after their animal by one of their officers to be able to issue a penalty notice. However if there is a repeat offender that a resident can identify, a formal statement can be provided and it may then be possible to penalise the offender.
  • Abandoned vehicles – they can issue a 15-day notice and have the offending vehicle removed. Street Scene did point out however that if the vehicle is taxed with an MOT the owner has the right to park it continuously if there are no parking restrictions.
  • Street cleaning – they respond to reports of litter and leaves on the highways and pavements.


Changes to garden waste collections in 2019

Wealden District Council has decided in principle to introduce customer charges for garden waste collections when the new waste contract comes into effect in June 2019. They have informed the following:

“Rather than look to the council tax to fund garden waste collections, we think it is not unreasonable to ask the residents who value the service to make a contribution to the cost, as residents in the other joint waste partnership authorities of Rother and Hastings do. We have indicated that a charge of £1 a week is likely although the final figure will not be known until the cost of collections under the new contract is agreed late next year (2018). We are a large rural district and I know many residents have excellent opportunities to compost in their own gardens and many already choose to do so. We will be promoting offers on a range of home composting equipment before the new scheme starts, providing residents with the opportunity to compost for themselves.

Some frequently asked questions:

Q: Will I have to pay the charge for the garden waste service or can I opt out?

A: You will not have to pay for the service if you do not want it. In 2013 the current free garden waste service became optional and customers opted in if they required it. All customers that currently receive the free garden waste collections service will be contacted in early 2019 and asked to subscribe to the chargeable service if they wish it to continue from June 2019. If you do not subscribe you will not receive the service and will not have to pay.


Q: What happens to the brown bin I have currently if I do not subscribe for the chargeable service?

A: You will be able to continue using the bin up to the end of the free service in June 2019. Once the chargeable service begins the bin will not be emptied. Bins remain the property of Wealden District Council and it may be removed for use elsewhere.


Q: How do I dispose of my garden waste if I do not subscribe to the chargeable collection service?

A: You can compost at home. We will be promoting special offers on home composting equipment in 2019. Or you can take the garden waste to your local Household Waste Recycling Site where it will be recycled.


Q: Can’t Wealden District Council sell collected garden waste as compost and offset the cost?

A: Wealden District Council collects the garden waste and delivers it to East Sussex County Council facilities for disposal. They sell the compost and use the income to support the cost of operating the disposal service. This helps reduce the amount of money required to pay for the contract but it is not enough to enable it to be a free service.


Q: Why haven’t we been consulted on what we want?

A: At a time when the grant support received from central government is being reduced to zero, the retention of the current free garden waste collection service would have involved either an excessive council tax increase, entailing a local referendum, or reductions in other vital local government services. These options would have been difficult to fairly factor in to a consultation on a free garden waste collection service.


Q: How will the collection crews know if I have paid for the garden waste collection service?

A: When a customer subscribes and pays for the service they will receive a self-adhesive licence label to attach to the brown bin for the year. Bins without this label attached will not be emptied.


Q: What if I need more than one bin?

A: Customers will be able to subscribe and pay for up to two garden waste bins at their property. The cost will be the same for each bin.


Q: Will charging for garden waste result in more fly tipping?

A: No. From the experience of other authorities that have started charging for garden waste services there has been little evidence of an increase in the fly tipping of garden waste. The majority of fly tips in Wealden are from commercial sources and rogue traders rather than householders.


Con men alert

Wealden District Council has warned of con men operating in neighbouring local authorities of con men claiming to be employees of Kier, our waste and recycling contractor, and requesting Christmas tips and payments to empty overweight brown bins. Please email if you have been approached. In cases were brown garden waste bins are overweight, WDC ticket the bin, they do not approach residents requesting them for any additional money.


Beware of car thieves whilst defrosting your vehicle

It’s that time of year again when we start having the chore of defrosting the car windscreen. Demisting your windscreen on the inside is also a necessity before setting off. Failing to do either can impede your vision – which means you’ll be driving illegally.


If you can’t put your car away in a garage overnight, covering your windscreen the night before a frost is forecast will shorten the amount of time it takes to clear in the morning. Some people like to use de-icing spray or a scraper.


It’s important you stay with your car while it’s defrosting. It is known from previous experience that thieves will target residential areas on cold and frosty mornings, specifically looking for cars that have been left to defrost unattended while the owner has gone back indoors. You may even find your motor insurance becomes invalid, or cover reduced, if your car is stolen as a result of the key being left in the ignition.


Stay warm and well this winter

Every winter there are around 25,000 excess deaths in England, mainly in older and vulnerable people.  The excess deaths are caused by many factors, including the cold weather and inadequate heating exacerbating existing conditions. You can protect yourself by:

•       Keeping your home heated to at least 18°C (65°F).

•       Wearing layers of light clothes – these trap warmth better than one bulky layer.

•       Staying active – not sitting still for more than an hour.

•       Closing windows at night as cold air increases risk of chest infections.

•       Wearing shoes with good grip to prevent falling.

•       Eating well – regular meals will help keep your energy levels up.


Advice on how to shop online safely

Check the web address

Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.

Is it a secure connection?

Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure.


Don’t ever click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly around this time of year.